By Cady Kuzmich
Clifton Park — Just weeks after taking time off to recover from a stress reaction in her foot, 18 year old Julia Zachgo is back on the track, a member of the second fastest high school girls distance medley relay team in the nation.
As the lead leg of Shen’s DMR at the Yale Track Classic Saturday, January 21, Zachgo clocked 1,200 meters in 3:41.6 helping her team to a first place finish in a time of 11: 57.54.
Born in Colorado, Zachgo moved with her family to the Netherlands at age six for her father’s engineering work. The Zachgo family moved to Clifton Park a year later. Zachgo’s mother is a substitute teacher. Her younger sister, Ashley, is a sophomore at Shenendehowa who competes in pole vault.
Zachgo’s introduction to the world of racing began in seventh grade but intensified the following year when she was moved up to varsity track. It wasn’t until recently however, that she became a three season runner — she used to play basketball for Shen in the winter.
This coming fall, She will be attending North Carolina State University on a running scholarship.
The experience of choosing schools and their respective track teams proved a daunting task. Zachgo went on five official visits to UCLA, Syracuse, University of Connecticut, San Diego and NC State. The team atmosphere, she said, was influential in her decision to attend NC State.
“You have a different relationship with each coach. You try to figure out the actual person they are in a short period of time,” said Zachgo.
The decision to continue running in college was an easy one for Zachgo, citing the bonds forged between teammates.
“Our team, as a whole, has become closer than we were last year. When a team comes together it reflects in their performance. Through indoor, everyone is trying to make everyone better rather than compete against each other,” said Zachgo.
Though she was only cross training due to an injury for a month, Zachgo said her teammates would join her to cross train and aqua-jog.
For many the mental and physical challenges of running are daunting. For Zachgo, however, it’s the challenge that makes the sport so appealing.